26 Comment

  • I love the explanation that the house is “delapitated,” which I suppose is a combination of “dilapidated” and “decapitated.”

    When will someone address the educational crisis among America’s real estate agents?

  • Is that a Comcast box next to the SmartMeter-ready line drop? Can I get xFinity TOO?

  • OK. I agree. This MIGHT be a teardown.

  • New electrical box! When can I move in?

  • I’m glad they included additional interior photos. Otherwise, from the view of the exterior pic, I’d assume it was a nice litte fixer-upper.

  • Amazing how cheap land gets in some areas. I mean, $12k? No need to show pics of the house as it’s obviously a tear down. In all honesty, due to the land value that place is almost literally worthless.
    Not many miles away, a 4k+ SF lot in Montrose would easily be 20x that amount (assuming ~$50/SF). Not to mention “fancy” areas like River Oaks, West U, etc.

  • A $1.2M house in Piney Point that’s just old but considered a teardown has just a few picture of it’s lovely lot but we’re subjected to a photo essay of this $12K post rotten shack? Really? The listing agent’s 3% commission is a whopping $360 (or maybe double if he also sells it, whoopee!) It cost more in time just to drive over there and snap the pics. What’s the point?

  • The funny thing is, I was actually drawn to a property that I ended up buying because the main image was so horrible.

  • @John: You can stop at “educational crisis” in America. Unfortunately it’s not limited to real estate agents. It is a rampant problem….the dumbing down of America.

  • @MarketingWiz. I agree completely; I feel like I live in a much stupider world than the one I grew up in. But real estate listings are particularly bad, particularly when you just need to proofread a paragraph or two of copy and you’re getting a cut of the sale of a property. I’m more careful writing a note for the dogsitter than some agents seem to be with their clients’ listings.

  • @John (another one) Realtors are like any other profession. Some are very savvy and some are not. A Realtors writing is public. But I’ve seen some of the worst grammar and spelling from so-called business professionals. Let’s not pick on one industry. People are either educated professionals and care about the work they produce or they don’t. It is in no way limited to the real estate industry. If the rest of the business world’s written documents were up for review, you would see the same types of things.

  • I look at advertising materials all day long professionally (and that’s exactly what the listing copy is) and I can’t think of any industry that comes as close to functional illiteracy as real estate.

  • John (another one) I see, you are comparing professional advertising to real estate listings? I don’t disagree that they are advertising nor do I disagree that they should be checked for acuracy but to compare them to advertising done by professional advertising company’s or marketing deparmentments to determine literacy is pretty lame. But if it makes you feel better to put down other people, knock yourself out.

  • Actually I was thinking more of things like social media, blogs written by small businesspeople, that kind of thing – not something produced by an agency.

    But that’s beside the point. I find it sad and a little shocking that my expectation that someone would spell check and proofread a listing before publishing is considered unreasonable.

    I’m not talking about writing clever copy or having an artful writing style. Just not fucking it up.

    What an industry, where that’s considered an excessive demand!

  • Nobody said your expectation was the problem. What was said was that there are people in all professions that lack good English skills and that Realtors don’t have a market on that problem. No one said it is unreasonable of you to think listings on MLS should be accurate at all. Your comment wasn’t that they shouldn’t fuck it up…it was a bash on the real estate profession in general. There is a difference and Realtors who do good marketing and take pride in having their listings look and sound good don’t appreciate being lumped in with those who don’t. I don’t like seeing listings like that either but I also don’t generalize a bad agent with all agents.

    You can twist whatever you want, which I’ve seen you do often on this forum but people objected to your stereotyping Realtors and pointed out that they aren’t they only ones with problems in that area. You are the one who wanted to continue to go after a specific group. Makes one wonder who else you have a bias about?? Do your derogatory comments extend to people of color or religion or sexual orientation, etc., because you sure are quick to bash a “group” of people and defensive about your position when someone points out that you’re assessment as a whole is unfair? But, I don’t have time to continue to try to explain you why your comments were inappropriate so feel free to have the last word.

  • You’ve missed my point entirely, because you’re so angry with me for noticing that there are a lot of listings that reveal an agent’s lack of attention to detail. Just think back to the recent Swamplot item featuring photos with sex toys on the nightstand. Or consider that there’s an entire blog devoted to real estate listings with horrible photos that a teenager wouldn’t post on their Facebook. Or consider that if you talk to a bunch of non-realtors with no realtors in earshot, you’ll generally hear that everyone has had an agent they loved, and interacted with a ton they thought were jerks.


  • Don’t forget that the Seller makes the choice of realtor/agency.
    And if the property’s a good buy, does the poor English matter – whether due to immigration or lack of education?
    As I’ve said before, large chunks of Houston’s economy get by very well with bad English.

  • Okay I just can’t resist…first…not angry at all. It takes a whole lot more than some internet junkie to make me angry…LOL! You take yourself waaaayyyy to seriously and this blog way to seriously if you think that anything you say would make people angry. Second, I didn’t miss your point at all. I got your point but you had to make it by implying that a few bad apples are representative of the whole, which is problematic no matter what you are talking about. However, to your last point, I can tell you that realtors, with no clients within earshot, will say that they have clients they love and become their lifelong friends but some are much more than “jerks.” My guess would be that you fall into the former category with your realtor but he/she is just too professional or polite to tell you you are a jerk because if you weren’t, you would’t make the kinds of posts you made here! I’ve known a lot of realtors and trust me, they all have had jerks for clients and they’ve have all had the not-so-bright for clients. Too bad the not so-bright, jerk clients don’t use the not-so-bright, jerk realtors and only do business with one another, right?

  • RHP, I don’t think you’re jerk, even though you’ve just personally insulted me and called me names based on some blog comments. I don’t take any of this very seriously and I’m not sure why you do.

    I actually find the scads of semi-literate listings amusing. I wouldn’t if it were my property being listed, but seeing them on such a regular basis it’s really hard not to think there are a lot of careless agents out there.

    Personal experience bears that out; while I’ve been fortunate to work with some great, professional people I’ve also run into those who don’t listen to you when you explain what you want, who try to push you to things that are all wrong, etc.

    I’m just really old fashioned about details like this. When you talk to agents about selling your house, they always tell you what they’ll do to market your property, and I would expect that to be done proerly. Impressions count. You don’t go to job interviews wearing rags, and you take five minutes to check something you wrote that’s supposed to entice people to come look at a property. I’m not expecting anybody to get an English degree to do this; just to actually check their work.

    I’m a horrible proofreader myself, and I know it. So I get other people to read things I write professionally. It takes a little bit of time but, details matter.

    As for realtors – as an outsider, it’s striking to me that it’s really easy to become one (though not to succeed at it) and as a result I think you have a lot of not very good people in the game.

    The good ones, of course, are fantastic. The guy who sold me my house has become a dear friend, and I still get nice notes from time to time from the agent who listed my old house in another city. It was one of the cheapest listings in the neighborhood, she didn’t make a ton of money on it, but she was a consummate professional who made sure the pictures were perfect and the open house went flawlessly and gave me excellent advice that made me money.

    Am I jerk for thinking the person selling my house should be able to use a spellchecker? Really?

  • I’m going to take a wild guess that RHP is a Realtor (always capitalized). And here’s a thought: The not-so-bright “jerk” clients DO INDEED use the not-so-bright “jerk” Realtors because neither recognizes the flaws in each other. It’s the ‘birds-of-a-feather’ complex, I believe. Once again, it simply represents the dumbing-down of America. Illiteracy has become acceptable and Americans have become too lazy to care. @RHP, you are taking this way too (note the spelling of TOO) seriously. Class dismissed.

  • Whether or not business gets done with 100% correct English, sloppy spelling and lazy grammar does indicate a lack of attention to other details. I look at HAR listings (closed and active) all day long as part of my job. Without exception, the more expensive the home, the better and more literate is the listing. I wonder why that is? I know it is quite possible to be a successful Realtor with English as a second language, especially in a city as ethnically diverse as Houston. But I agree with the poster above who maintains that a Listing is, indeed, an advertising tool, and should be created and edited with all the care that any other ad would require. Yes, these grammatical faux pas occur in EVERY industry — but we here on Swamplot should concentrate on mocking one industry only. Our own.

    In the course of my job I have kept a list of some of the more amusing (and misspelled) features these “challenged” listing agents have offered:

    -Barber carpet (a house on Fleet Street?)
    -Desiner paints
    -Iland kitchen
    -Plush landscaping
    -Located in quite neighborhood
    -Roth iron fence
    -Parkay floors (margarine does wonders for the finish)
    -Walking closets
    -Stainless steal appliances
    -A house that was on a “culda sack” and had a “modivated” seller……
    -Remolded bathroom (probably in a flood plain)
    -Tile backslash
    -Gleeming hardwoods (polished with toothpaste?)
    -Confection oven (must have been Willy Wonka’s old place)
    -A beautiful double sided foreplace

    These are just the highlights.

  • English as a second language is a red herring. Lots of non-native speakers in many professions can write coherent English with minimal errors.

  • Claire-
    You forgot
    Porta cachere
    Port de cochair
    And yes it blows me away that people actually list with agents who write crappy copy and take their own pictures with a wet cellphone
    Confidential to all you civilians out there: Real agents pay for professional photographers.
    But then an always reliable way to bond with my clients is to send them listings that we can snark about together

  • Thanks Harold — you’re right. I’ve seen that feature spelled every which way but right.

    And I could go on ad nauseum about “creative” copy in these listings. I keep thinking of a house that seemed to write the copy itself: “I am a very Nice home in a quiet neighborhood, oversized lot with large strong trees that give shade and added freshness to the house and the yard. I have a Two car attached garage PLUS a covered carport. LARGE Storage Shed on the back. All my windows are Energy Efficient, I have French doors with enclosed blinds that lead to the covered patio which I have ready for some fun family time.” Oh boy.

  • @MarketWiz ?? I already said I don’t take this too seriously. I was laughing with every post. Does anyone take this nonsense seriously? Get real…it’s a blog!

    I simply was pointing out that, in my experience in the corporate world, there are many, many “professionals” who have serious problems with the English language (and it is their first language). I used to have a boss who couldn’t spell his way out of a paper bag, sat in his office and shouted out the door asking me how to spell words I considered basic. (He wasn’t a rocket scientist but acted like he was). I used to have to “improve” everything he wrote because he couldn’t write in complete sentences. As a young pup, I spent considerable time working for people who thought their position meant they were smarter than I was because of their “important” job but they seemed barely literate to me. I later put myself through college and worked in very technical field for more than a decade and saw people who were in management who couldn’t put two sentences together, including executives. Their secretaries and assistants saved their bacon in that respect. They didn’t even write their own emails. Realtors are no better or worse than anyone else…which was the only thing I took issue with. This country does a crappy job at education and then doesn’t demand a level of competency in the business world. It is not a problem of real estate, it is a problem in our culture.

    There are plenty of good realtors…and there are a lot of bad but that is true of every profession. The other John wanted to make an issue about bad realtors who don’t do the job their client is paying them to do. Our society is overflowing with mediocrity and mostly people just put up with it. Doesn’t make it right, but it is the way it is. And I never said I approve of agents who are so lazy they don’t proof what they put in their listings. I laugh at them as well, shake my head and think they are idiots every bit as much as anyone else. I just don’t lump them all in and make blanket statements about the entire profession because there are bad ones. I realize this might be considered nuance but I thought I made it clear enough to understand the difference between making commentary about the ones who are bad and painting the rest with the same brush.

    I also agree with you on the birds of a feather but every realtor I know will tell you that they have had jerks for clients who have unreasonable expectations, don’t listen to their advice, generally act badly and against their own interests. It cuts both ways.

  • The price is right but the feng shui is just wrong.